DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - An apologetic and remorseful Timothy Thorson pleaded guilty today to a violent crime that took the lives of an elderly Mahnomen couple just one week ago.
The 52-year-old Mahnomen man confessed once again to killing Francis and Ethyl Lundon, fully understanding he'd be giving up his rights to a jury trial.
In a Mahnomen County District Courtroom filled with sobbing family members of the Lundons, Thorson pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree burglary and a felony count of theft of a motor vehicle.
"I'm gonna die in prison. I know that anyhow," Thorson said. "I deserve it."
Despite his attorney's advice not to plead guilty, Thorson said he didn't want the family to go through lengthy legal proceedings.
"I just want to say that I'm sorry for what I did, I don't know what else to say," Thorson said.
Mahnomen County District Judge Tamara Yon called Thorson to the witness stand before accepting his plea to make sure it's a voluntary, knowledgeable and intelligent decision.
Thorson said although he's on several psychotic medications, he was completely aware of his actions the night of the double homicide on Thursday, Sept. 30.
"I was angry when I left, but I was clear-headed," he said.
He told public defender Peter Cannon that he may be suffering from a bipolar disorder and depression, but added, "I know that I'm in the right state of mind."
He recalled the day of the murders and said he went to the Lundon's home under the impression that it was a drug dealer's house.
"I went and got my gun and stuck it in my duffel bag," he said. "... went to the house where I shot the people."
Thorson said he forcefully entered the home and saw 72-year-old Francis Lundon afraid of him because he was armed.
"Honestly, we were talking, me and him," he said, adding that the first time he shot him it was an accident and the safety was off.
"Once the gun went off I figured I had to finish it," Thorson said. "I thought I heard him moan, then I shot him again."
Then he decided to kill 71-year-old Ethyl Lundon and leave no witnesses behind.
"I shot her," he said, as her family listened, sobbed and wiped tears off their faces in the court gallery today.
Thorson initially wanted to kill the drug dealer he thought lived in that residence, then have "a shoot out" with police or commit suicide, he said.
But after leaving the residence, he traveled on Highway 113, with plans to go to Minneapolis. On his way, he stopped to see a friend whom he told about his crime.
He was then pulled over on Highway 25 surrounded by police.
"I was gonna have a shoot out but I couldn't see," he said. "So I just surrendered."
Thorson, who used to live in the Center for Human Environment, said he wasn't allowed to carry firearms and stored his rifle in a nearby shed where nobody knew about it.
"I don't want the public to think that it's a bad place because of what I did," he said of the center. "It's a good place for people that need help ... I just didn't use it right."
Thorson faces up to 80 years in prison for both counts of second-degree murder, in addition to 25 years for the other two charges. His sentencing is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, in Mahnomen.
Yon said rarely does somebody in Thorson's shoes plead guilty to the same or similar charges.
Mahnomen County Sheriff Doug Krier said in his 21 years working for Mahnomen County, he's never seen a suspect charged with murder enter a guilty plea.
"I hope it was sincere for the family's sake," Krier said.